How Often Does a Puppy Go Potty?

By Denise Bertacchi

Housetraining a puppy is one of the biggest tasks a new puppy owner has to face. It's impossible to take a puppy outside too often to "do his business." The number of times a puppy needs to be taken outside to go potty will vary with the age of the puppy, how well he's catching on to housetraining and the number of times he eats per day. Expect to take your puppy outside to potty a minimum of five to six times a day.

Potty First Thing in the Morning

Take your puppy outside to potty first thing in the morning

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The puppy will need to go outside to potty first thing in the morning. If the puppy has been properly housed in a crate or comfy box, its doubtful that she will have soiled her bedding, because dogs don't like to sleep where they poo.

The puppy should sleep in the bedroom of her primary caretaker--or at least the person who is assigned morning potty duty. That way the right person can be woken by the puppy and taken immediately outside.

Potty After Each Meal

Take your puppy outside to potty immediately after each meal

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Puppies should be taken outside to potty immediately after each meal. Because the dog lacks a natural instinct to relieve himself outside, it is a good idea to give the puppy at least 15 minutes to do the job. Either supervise him in a securely fenced yard or take him for a walk around the block. This is also an excellent time to give the puppy some exercise. Exercise may also increase the urge "to go."

Praise the puppy for relieving himself outdoors. Puppies like to please people and letting him know that he's done a good thing will make him want to do it again.

The Crate as a Potty Training Aid

A dog crate should be big enough for a puppy to lie down, stand in and turn around

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Most dog trainers agree that a dog crate is the best training tool in your arsenal. The dog crate does two things: it gives the puppy a safe place to rest and it keeps her in an area where she will not make a mess. Make staying in the crate a pleasant experience by keeping a comfortable blanket and toys in the crate, and give her treats to reward her when she enters it.

A dog crate should be big enough for a puppy to stand in and turn around, but not so big that she can make a mess at one end and avoid it by sleeping in the opposite corner. Because puppies will grow, purchase a crate large enough for an adult dog, then partition it to the puppy's current size.

Keep the puppy in the crate whenever she is not being directly supervised to prevent potty training accidents.

Supervision

Make sure to properly train your puppy so he knows the difference between right and wrong

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Puppies don't understand the difference between going potty outside or inside and must be taught. A housetraining accident is never the puppy's fault, because he doesn't know any better--it is the owner's fault for not keeping an eye on him. For this reason, a puppy should never be allowed to roam freely through the house before being completely potty trained.

This doesn't mean the puppy should be locked in his crate all times either. Purchase a baby gate to restrict the puppy in one room, like the kitchen, so he can experience freedom of movement while you are supervising him.

Odor Neutralizer

Purchase an odor neutralizing spray in case of accidents

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Purchase a pet odor neutralizing spray, available at your pet store, in case of accidents. If the puppy still manages to have an indoor accident, the smell of the urine on the floor will linger and attract the puppy to relieve herself in that spot again. A pet odor neutralizer will remove the scent, unlike normal ammonia-based household cleaners, which smell similar to urine to a dog.

Discipline

If you do catch your dog in the act, immediately grab him by the scruff of the neck to discipline him

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Never punish a puppy for making a mess in the house, unless you catch him in the act. Puppies' memories are very short, and he won't understand why he is being punished, even if he made the mess 2 or 3 minutes ago.

If you catch the dog going potty inside, immediate grab him by the scruff of the neck and--gently--shake him. This is how mother dogs discipline their puppies. Take the puppy outside to finish his business to show him where he is supposed to go potty.

Dogs and puppies do not make messes in the house for spite or revenge. They only do it when they aren't properly trained.